Talc Found in Children’s Cosmetics at Popular Retailer
Asbestos was found in three products intended for use by children in a makeup line distributed by the children’s retailer, Claire’s. The non-profit U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) requested testing of a total of fifteen products and found talc in three of the four products it commissioned from the retailer. The problem three are Claire’s Contour Palette, which tested for 84,746 fibers of asbestos per gram of product, Claire’s Shadow and Highlight Finishing Kit, which tested for 61,538 fibers of asbestos per gram of product, and Claire’s Compact Powder, which tested for 153,846 fibers of asbestos per gram of product. The makeup was found to contain “high levels of asbestos” in an “accredited laboratory,” indicating that there is a high probability that the results are accurate.
Claire’s has denied the test results, however, issuing a statement that it “categorically denies that the testing by STAT, (the laboratory) relied upon by PIRG, is accurate. The test methods that were used by STAT are obsolete and unreliable, and STAT is not certified to perform the type of testing necessary for talc-based products. In contrast, Claire’s has conducted extensive testing and investigation in cooperation with relevant authorities, including the FDA, Health Canada, and a number of EU enforcement agencies, to demonstrate that Claire’s products are asbestos-free and comply with all relevant safety regulations. Indeed, testing by an independent laboratory of fifteen samples confirms that the products tested by STAT are asbestos-free.”
Back in December, Claire’s began to pull several items it had been previously marketing to children from its shelves in response to lab testing that found evidence of contamination. The company later said that the initial tests of its own did not find any asbestos in these products. PIRG decided to conduct another round of testing because it felt, according to President Faye Park, “we as consumers should be able to trust that the products that we buy are safe, especially those we’re giving to our kids and are specifically marketed to teenagers and pre-teens.” Park said, “Given that we know that those products in December tested positive for asbestos, but Claire’s said that they weren’t, we thought it was prudent to go ahead and do some additional testing.”
According to Park, parents should “play it safe and stay away from cosmetics that are powdery, shimmery or sparkly. Those are the products that tend to use talc as a main ingredient, and it’s the talc that can be contaminated with asbestos.” Dev Gowda, director of PIRG’s Toxic-Free Products Campaign added, “Parents should be able to trust that the makeup they buy for their kids is safe. Claire’s should immediately recall the three makeup products and investigate how such high levels of asbestos were found in these products.”
Exposure to asbestos has long been linked to a multitude of health issues. Frequently ingesting or inhaling asbestos in any form can lead to an increased risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma. Repeated topical exposure to asbestos may also result in increased skin cancer risk. Therefore, the use of cosmetics containing talc at any retailer should be avoided.